The following accounts the adventures had by my first two times in San Francisco, CA. In this post, I highlight alphabetically all the best things to see, do, eat and drink down by the bay! Hope you enjoy!
Golden Gate Bridge
Might as well start with the obvious right? The Golden Gate Bridge is a red suspension bridge in San Francisco over the Pacific Ocean. It’s been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World, and is definitely the most recognizable landmark in the city. When I visited, the clouds were moving in so quickly you couldn’t even see the bridge until you were up close! Make sure you don’t miss this one.
One of America’s most crooked streets, Lombard Street is a winding path that leads down one of San Francisco‘s steep slopes. It’s landscaped beautifully, either because of the huge amounts of tourists it attracts, or the fact that it’s located in an extremely expensive residential area. What I would have done to have a longboard with me!
The Painted Ladies are another widely recognized attraction. These colorful Victorian and Edwardian houses are nestled neatly together, and provide a worthy backdrop for your next Instagram photo. Featured in the opening sequence of Full House, it’s believed that one of these houses was the Tanner residence, but in reality they just know how to stand out!
Although heavily touristed, you haven’t really visited San Francisco unless you’ve been through Pier 39. Stuffed to the brim with eateries, shops and even a double carousel, this area it’s lots of fun for all ages. My favorite spot of course is right next to the water, where you can watch sea lions play and sunbathe!
Climb a Street
San Francisco, CA
Pick a street, any street. As long as it’s got the incline that makes your thighs burn like there’s no tomorrow, you’re all set. San Francisco is widely known for it’s stepping ascending and descending roads, so the work out comes along with your visit!
Climb to the Top of Coit Tower
View of San Francisco from Coit Tower
Peeking out of Pioneer Park on top of the hill is Coit Tower. When visiting with my Uncle, we spontaneously climbed to the top and snagged a peek at the 360 degree views of the city. Access is relatively inexpensive, and well worth the breathless climb!
Ride a Bike
San Francisco, CA
This is certainly one of my favorite cities to go bike riding. It is important to avoid those steep inclines though, so make sure to check out this website with recommended routes! I was so excited to be joined by my Uncle during my first visit, and to have him guide me all the way from Union Square to Sausalito across the Golden Gate Bridge and back! Take advantage of the many bike rentals that are offered in the city!
Ride a Cable Car
Although certainly not the quickest form of transportation, cable cars are definitely a unique addition to your travel plans! For a few dollars, ride on the world’s largest manually-operated cable car system that has been around since 1873. This isn’t a leisure ride however, you must hang off the side to get the full experience!
Wander through The Castro
The Castro is one of the first gay neighborhoods to exist in the United States. An array of dining and fun shops decorate the colorful streets. You could spend the whole day exploring this area, but at least make sure to snag a photo next to The Castro Theatre sign!
Visit the Musée Mécanique Arcade
Located in Fisherman’s Wharf, Musée Mécanique is an interactive antique penny arcade. It’s fun to peruse and check out the 20th century games that fill the space. Most notable for any Princess Diaries fans out there is the arm wrestling game. You guys, Julie Andrews touched this hand (after sanitizing of course)!
TO EAT + DRINK
Clam Chowder at Boudin’s Bakery
Head down to Boudin’s with locations in Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 for a chance to taste two of San Francisco‘s must haves. Clam chowder in a bread bowl is one of the city’s most famous dishes, and certainly will warm you up after a day in the cool west coast wind! They also claim to be the home of the original sourdough bread, and still use the same yeast-bacteria culture that was developed during the California Gold Rush! It’s not gross, it’s awesome.
Seafood Pasta at Scoma’s
Scoma’s is nestled right next to the water and offers a particularly delectable dining experience. Here I enjoyed the gulf shrimp pastini along with a glass of pinot grigio. You can find all things seafood at this spot, where local fisherman deliver straight from the boat. Can’t get fresher than that right?
Special Treat at Hot Cookie
You can find this fun counter-top cookie shop in The Castro. The fun decorated space serves delicious baked goods, along with a few festive ones… But I don’t want to ruin the surprise! If you’ve got a sweet tooth, make sure to stop by for an unforgettable sweet treat!
World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae at Ghirardelli Square
There’s no such thing as too many sweets, and how often can you say you’ve eaten a world famous sundae!? Ghirardelli Square is an adorable area that hosts many restaurants and shops. If you’re craving a sugar high, head straight to get a Ghirardelli hot fudge sundae! After all, they’re sort of a big deal.
I hope you enjoyed this collection of my favorites in San Francisco! What did I miss!? I’m always looking for more to explore!
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